BIM Principles Part 3: Model to Accommodate Change Swiftly

BIM Principles Part 3: Model to Accommodate Change Swiftly

We’ve come to the third installment of our four-part series exploring the PES BIM guiding principles. We’ve already covered adding value to the design team and model as it will be constructed. We try to add value to the design team by being excellent communicators and experts in BIM tools and processes. You can read more about that here. Modeling as a building will actually be constructed allows us to create high quality drawings with ample amounts of relevant information. In turn, we become better collaborators. You can read about more here.

All of which brings us to the third guiding principle, model to accommodate change swiftly. It’s hard to think that not too long ago (and even still some today) plans were hand-drawn. Changes were made with an eraser, generally without too much thought as to how a single change can have a ripple effect throughout an entire building. It was a far cry from where we are today – delivering 3D models with relevant information attached to each element. With the development of electronic drafting technology, the industry took a step in the right direction but we were still basically making changes that required substantial time and we were generally only considering single instances.

With the advent of the BIM age, we can finally think about each element and the complete role it plays in a building.  We can also think about elements in groups and schedules, allowing us to swiftly and easily make changes that could have amounted to days of erasing and re-drawing. Just having the capacity to simply make updates isn’t the whole story. We have to model with this in mind from the very beginning.

By modeling each floor, column or beam with relevant information, we are setting ourselves up to accommodate change. We can leverage all of the relevant information and create schedules where we can easily adjust a whole group of footings. If modeled correctly from the beginning, all element properties will reflect the changes we made in the schedule. This certainly beats selecting each individual instance of an element.

The benefits include more than just avoided headaches. The bottom line in the AEC industry is that anything we can do to save time, saves money. Accommodating change swiftly certainly saves time. Also, recognizing the effect those changes have throughout a building before construction begins also saves time. When you change the size of a column, you can see how the extra size might mean a wall needs to be made wider or a bumpout needs to be added. Or when your footing depths change, your grade beams might need updated. This is another way we model as a building will actually be constructed, our second guiding principle.

All of our guiding principles weave together to form our BIM framework. You can see how modeling as it will be constructed allows us to accommodate change swiftly and in turn, add value to the design team. This framework is what allows us to be better engineers, collaborators and partners.